Monday Mornings with Madison

Yearly Archives:

Something Old. Something New.

Part 1 – Mixing Old and New Strategies To Achieve Success

There was an old English rhyme that said “Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, And A Sixpence in your Shoe.” It was told to brides on their wedding day. Something old represented continuity. Something new offered optimism for the future. Something borrowed symbolized borrowed happiness that came with becoming part of a new family. Something blue stood for love and loyalty. And, a sixpence in your shoe was meant as a wish for good fortune and prosperity. The tradition was that brides who did these things on their wedding day would have a happy and successful marriage.

Most business owners and entrepreneurs surely hope for the same happiness and success in business as brides do in marriage. This week, we begin by apply the saying to business as we think about what has worked in the past and what new things to try in 2012. We’ll start by rethinking an old – but valuable – marketing strategy that helps promote brand continuity. We’ll also investigate a new marketing trend that is helping customers connect to businesses in a new way, generating a new optimism about branding for the future. Continue reading

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Words of Wisdom from Steve Jobs – Part 3

Living Your Own Life To Avoid Regrets

This week we conclude our three-part series reflecting on the Commencement Speech Steve Jobs, then CEO of Apple Computer and Pixar Animation Studios, delivered to Stanford University students on June 12, 2005. His speech — told in three stories – offered the graduating seniors advice on how to live their lives after college, told by a man who himself had dropped out of college and yet achieved the highest level of business success.

Each of his three stories was a message unto itself. The first part advised graduates to have the courage to try new things in life without worrying about connecting the dots. The second part advised them to have the courage to find their passion and then do great work by doing what they love. Today we conclude with the third story in his speech. He said it was about death… but actually it really was about life. He advised students to be true to themselves throughout life’s journey in order to avoid having regrets when death inevitably comes calling. In light of his recent passing, his words are particularly poignant. Continue reading

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Words of Wisdom from Steve Jobs – Part 2

Last week, we began a three-part series reflecting on the Commencement Speech Steve Jobs, then CEO of Apple Computer and Pixar Animation Studios, delivered to Stanford University students on June 12, 2005. His speech basically told three stories. Each was a message unto itself. The first part was about trying new things without worrying about connecting the dots.

This week, we’ll read the second part of his Commencement Speech – just as he spoke it and offer a little further insight. In this story, he talked about finding and doing what you love. This advice is not revolutionary, but neither is it necessarily common or easy to achieve. Mr. Jobs found his passion, lost it, and then found it again. He and the world were the better for it. Continue reading

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Words of Wisdom from Steve Jobs – Part 1

Many things serve as inspiration for our weekly Monday Mornings column. Over a year ago, a colleague sent me the Commencement Address by Steve Jobs, then CEO of Apple Computer and Pixar Animation Studios, delivered to Stanford University students on June 12, 2005. It was no surprise that Mr. Jobs was a gifted communicator. With very little preamble, he basically told three stories. Each was a message unto itself, and each was inspirational.
As 2011 draws to a close and we begin to think about 2012, Mr. Jobs’ words of wisdom to those graduating students some six to seven years ago about past, present and future are particularly poignant, especially as we contemplate a year gone by that also brought Mr. Jobs’ untimely demise. This week, and for the next two weeks, we’ll share most of that that Commencement Speech — in three parts — and then perhaps dare to add a little insight of our own. His first story was about connecting the dots. Continue reading

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One Thing: Every Business Should Find Theirs

Customer service is a topic that eventually finds its way into practically every dialogue about business at one point or another. Business school professors expound on the importance of it. Writers of blogs, columns and broadcasts wax poetic about it. Executives ponder over how to improve it. Customers complain when they don’t get it. It is a quintessential concern of any good business. It is also the failing of many businesses, new and old. Good customer service, it seems, is a moving target that many businesses fail to hit at one point or another. Tales of consistently great customer service are almost as unbelievable as stories about the Tooth Fairy, leaving many to wonder if being able to provide great customer service consistently is really only a fairytale.

Why is it so hard to deliver great customer service consistently? The reason is because customer service is actually much more than the exchange that happens between a customer and the business right at the point of sale. Customer service is inherently a part of every interaction between the customer and the brand from initial interaction until well after the sale is completed and the product or service is delivered. Customer service is part and parcel of the product or service, not just the interactions between customer and company. It is the responsibility of every employee in every department, from research and development to marketing and from manufacturing or operations to accounting.

One needn’t look very hard to find examples in the media of customer service gone terribly awry. But there are many organizations that do have a handle on good customer service. They have identified the one thing that matters most and focused on getting that single thing right. Continue reading



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Customers do not like to wait. The golden rule in business is that customers should be helped right away. We’re not talking about a manufacturer making a customer wait for the release of a new product or model… which can actually increase brand value by creating excitement and buzz. Instead, we are referring to the time a customer actually waits to be assisted with whatever they need from the business. At an office, a client that is made to wait more than 10 minutes for a scheduled appointment will be irate. At a store, a customer who sees a long line to pay might drop their purchases and leave. At a restaurant, a waiter is expected to welcome patrons within a few minutes of being seated.

Timeliness is directly related to customer satisfaction and customer repeat business. Wait time has an effect on customers that is similar to the effect of price. In fact, many economists view wait time as a form of price. Customers are aware of the price demanded in both money and time and adjust their behavior accordingly.

Clearly, response time matters when servicing a customer in person, but what about on the World Wide Web? Does a company’s response time online matter? For example, does the speed in which a company replies to a customer’s inquiry or request online (speed-to-call rate) really impact whether the ‘lead’ converts to a sale? If you answered yes, you’re absolutely right. However, the extent to which response time impacts online lead conversation may be surprising. Continue reading

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Joining and Participating in LinkedIn Groups You’ve joined LinkedIn, created an impressive Profile and linked to all of your colleagues, coworkers past and present, schoolmates and associates.  Is that enough?  No.  While that was a lot of work, that work … Continue reading

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Strategy For Linking To Others Over the last four weeks, we explored how to set up a complete and compelling professional profile on LinkedIn.  If you’ve done the work of establishing a profile that really reflects who you are as … Continue reading



New Ways To Make Your LinkedIn Profile Pack More Punch Over the last few weeks, we’ve been looking at how to leverage the power of LinkedIn by creating a personal Profile that really grabs readers.  In one web page, your … Continue reading

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